Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Grey Scarf

The (oh-so-slight) downside of getting your husband to go into fabric stores and yarn stores with you for a decade-and-a-half is that he will eventually learn that there are things there that he might like ... things that end up being projects for you to make.
In this case, a soft squishy ball of lovely mottled grey wool-silk blend became a request for a soft, light scarf.  "Of course I can do that," I answer.  And the giant ball of fingering weight yarn comes home with us.

Fast forward 7 months after countless swatches, needle size tests, calculations, and charts.   It took me forever to settle on a simple linen stitch to show off the subtle bright patches in the yarn.  I love the way the slipped stitches break up the colors and give the scarf a pixelated look, like the static of an old black-and-white TV

After the first 5 inches (seen here) I did a quick wet block.  This yarn feels so incredible in linen stitch with a slightly stretched block (7 inches across became 7.5 inches). It will be a very light scarf, which is exactly what was requested.

I have put all my other knitting on hold until I finish this, which has lit a fire under me, for sure.  In just 8 days, I've made it almost half way through the scarf!  I set some aggressive goals for finishing it so I can be sure I'm not still knitting it over the holidays, because, although I'm happy to knit this for Andrew, plain linen stitch isn't very interesting to knit for 50-inches.

I calculated that this scarf will take 56,000 stitches and 31 hours to knit. I've never done calculations like that before, and I’m pretty sure I never will again.  It's pretty daunting, to say the least.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

2014 Ornament - Tree-ception

I have a very good friend Pam who loves the winter holidays, so every year I make her a Christmas ornament.

When November 1st rolled around, I started brainstorming.  Every time I had an idea I realized I'd already used the motif ...
an owl, a pincone, a heart, and a star ... and I was starting to worry and then the cutest image popped into my ravelry pattern feed.

The Christmas Tree ornament (ravelry account needed for link) by beakaptur is so adorable!  She hasn't published her pattern yet, so I did a ravelry search of Christmas Tree patterns (knit and crochet) and found Little Christmas Tree, and I loved just as much.  Bonus, it is a free pattern!

My only modifications were adding random purl stitches to make the tree textured, and I crocheted the trunk because it's so much easier to crochet tiny things than to knit them.

I resisted an urge to sew every bead, bobble, button, and sequin I own to the tree; I kept it simple.  In my imagination, I see the pearly beads and gold sequins as reflectors of whatever colors and lights are on the tree where it will hang.  That way it will always coordinate and be a mini-me of the bigger tree.

A tree to hang on your tree  = tree-ception!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

River of Doubt - Progress on Body

So much progress! The unblocked stitch pattern accordions into ridges, as you can see in the photos.  Once it's blocked the fabric will be flat and the knit/purl design will be more noticeable.  Right now it's hard to distinguish between the zigzag chevron lines and the diamonds.

Next step is to block it to make sure it’s the right length (it should be a couple inches longer when it’s blocked).

I’m thinking of doing a purl icord bind off. I will need to swatch that and see if it will look good.

Oh, let’s not forget the arms!

Monday, November 10, 2014

River of Doubt - The Source

I've started a new sweater named River of Doubt.  It's come together from a lot of different sources:
  • I wanted to make a sweater with contiguous sleeves.
  • I wanted to make a sweater with triangle-y knit-purl design.
  • I have had 12 skeins of this yarn in my stash for ... a long time.
  • I had just purchased the book "River of Doubt" and it matched the color of the yarn and the gist of the design.  I recommend the book, by the way.
  • My birthday was coming up and I was in my normal "what does the future hold" mindset, just like Roosevelt before his journey in "River of Doubt."
I bought the pattern for Crazy Stripes Tee because I like the neckline (and would eventually like to make that sweater).  I followed the directions for the top-down, seamless, contiguous set in sleeves.  So fantastic!

I had to chart every row of the front, back, and sleeves so I could figure out where the diamond and chevron stripes should be so that they'd all line up once I got to the armpits and started knitting the body in the round.  That took quite a bit of work.

And, about the time I got to the armpits, I realized I was making a sweater 3 sizes too big.  My normal ... haha.  So I frogged the whole thing, redrew the charts, and now things are moving much faster!

Here are photos of my progress over the last couple of months:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bermuda Triangle on Vacation

I made the sweater Bermuda Triangle (ravelry link) specifically to wear with this skirt on our vacation in LA this October.  I assumed that it would be cool and a little extra warmth up-top would be needed to balance out this short skirt.  Who knew that we'd visit right in the middle of a 90-degree October heatwave?!

Luckily, the sweater is cotton, so it was comfortable in spite of the heat.  It was also nice that I departed from my normal tight-fitting hip-length sweater silhouette and created a billowy cropped top to show off the swingy skirt.

This is one of my favorite outfits now: a bright cropped sweater and a short swingy skirt with pockets.  Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would even wear this combo.  Live and learn!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Golden - Finished!

I realized recently that I never posted an "I'm finished!" photo of this sweater, so I staged a mini photo shoot at the park.  Golden took forever to make, but it was worth every stitch.  I wear it to work once a week with this great purple v-neck.  That's the only thing good about chilly San Francisco summers - perfect cardigan weather.

I love wearing this sweater.  It's comfy and stylish.  Those increase eyelets make it look designer.  People complement the sweater all the time.  If it's extra cold on my walk to work, I wrap the front wings over my chest and secure them with the strap of my cross-body bag.  This pattern is highly recommended!

For pattern, yarn, and project details, see Golden on Ravelry.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Bermuda Triangle

Somehow, I started and finished a sweater before I could even mention it to you!  I still have to weave in the ends of Bermuda Triangle (ravelry link), but that's it.  I hope to take some finished shots of it this weekend.  I made it to match a new skirt because I was having a hell of a time trying to find a matching top.  Woohoo!

All of these pictures come from my tumblr.  If you're interested in seeing what I'm doing more than once every couple of weeks, check it out.  FYI, you can't follow my tumblr with bloglovin because reasons.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mini Road Trips

For the last couple of summers, instead of taking one big summer vacation, once a month we rent a car for a long weekend and drive somewhere nearby.  We have discovered so many amazing natural treasures within a day's drive of San Francisco.

This month we went to Owen's Valley and saw Devil's Postpile, Panam Crater, Alabama Hills, and (on a whim?!) drove back home across the entire length of Yosemite.  Seriously amazing.
full-sized images here

When I first started this sweater I googled the name of the yarn color, basalt.  I learned about a spectacular form of basalt, called columnar basalt that is lava that cracks into hexagons as it cools.  This is what lead me to name my sweater Fractured.

When I discovered that we had a columnar basalt formation within a day's drive, I knew we had to go see it.  That formation is a National Monument called Devils Postpile.  We hiked out to it as the sun was coming up.  Such a great way to start the day!

The formation is striking from below, where you can see the columns rising up ~60 feet into the sky.  Then you can hike up to the top of the pile to see the hexagon tops of the columns.  Bonus: there is a spectacular view of the valley below from the top.

Black bears are common at Devils Postpile, but luckily we didn't see any since we had enough black bear sightings on last month's hike to last us a lifetime.

This is a public domain photo of the Panum Craterfrom overhead.
full-sized images here

Panum Crater is an inactive volcano that is around 650-years-old.  You read that right, 650-years-old.  That means this volcano was erupting around the time the bubonic plague was devastating Europe.

Please note, if you plan on visiting, there is a weather cycle here near Mono Lake which brings 30-mile-an-hour winds around 3 PM.  Ask me how I know ... haha.  We hiked the entire rim trail (that outer circle in the top photo), part of the crater between the rim and the plug, and the plug.  All in 30-mile-an-hour winds.  When I wasn't taking phontos, I was literally  holding my sun hat with both hands to keep it on.  My arms were more sore than my legs after that hike!

The rim is made of loose pumice rocks about the size of ping pong balls.  The plug is made of majestic spires of obsidian.  Both pumice and obsidian are the same rock cooled at different speeds.  In my photos above are some chunks of striped pumice *and* obsidian.  So beautiful  The floor of the plug is full of broken shards of obsidian so it sounds like you're hiking through broken glass ... and I guess you kind of are.

full-sized images here

Alabama Hills is right outside of Lone Pine, CA.  It's otherwordly!  In fact, it was used as a set for other planets in the movie Star Trek Generations and the show Firefly.  Over 150 movies and a dozen TV shows have been filmed here.

The day we visited, we saw a couple other cars and two people.  It was quiet and beautiful.  We hiked and climbed and marveled.  As you move through the rock formations, they morph and change.  So many hidden wonders!

full-sized images here

On our normal route home, we pass through the city Lee Vining which happens to be where the "back" entrance of Yosemite on 120.  We stopped to get drinks at the gas station and thought, "Hey, why not drive back through Yosemite National Park?"

I'd never been to Yosemite and Andrew went once about 16 years ago.  We'd been avoiding it because you hear horror stories of people in 3-hour car queues just to get into parking lots.  But it didn't seem like there were a lot of people driving in and out of the 120 intersection with 395, so we went ahead and drove in.

It was a beautiful day.  Andrew convinced me to stop on a couple heart-attack-inducing turn offs that had us perched on the edge of cliffs.  We stopped in Yosemite Valley and went for a couple hikes to see Half Dome, Mirror Lake (which had almost no water), and El Capitan.  Hands down, it was the best drive home from a trip, ever!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Fractured Arms

Just in case you don't already know, this sweater's name is Fractured. :)  I didn't want you to worry I'd hurt myself!
One sleeve takes a little more than one skein of yarn.  

I have a couple more rows to do of the left arm (the one on the right in the photo).  I steam-blocked the body and will try it on after it is dry* to see if I need to frog back to the waist and redo the hip increases sooner. (please. god. no.)

*Or at some time in the future when I have the fortitude to handle the (potential) news that I have months-more work ahead of me to complete a sweater I started in January 2013.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Introducing the Lucky Wristlet

There is at least one of you who has been waiting over 7 years for this pattern to be published!  There are many more of you that have emailed over the years asking for this pattern.  And now, here it is, the Lucky Wristlet, available as a free download.

I can't wait to see all the creative personal twists that you put on the pattern.  There are so many ways to customize this using colors, materials, ribbons, etc.  Plus it's a very quick project.  You could have it done in a weekend.  So far, no one's posted a project  on Ravlery.  Will you be the first? ;)